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From Latin misceō (mix) + genus (race).

Reportedly coined in an anonymous pamphlet printed in New York City in December 1863, entitled Miscegenation: The Theory of the Blending of the Races, Applied to the American White Man and Negro.[1] Replaced previous amalgamation, from metallurgy. See further discussion.



miscegenation (countable and uncountable, plural miscegenations)

  1. (chiefly US, see usage notes) The mixing or blending of race in marriage or breeding, interracial marriage.
  2. (figuratively) A mixing or blending, especially one which is considered to be inappropriate.
    • 1991, Frederick Turner, Rebirth of Value: Meditations on Beauty, Ecology, Religion, and Education, page 57:
      as is clear in the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, it has a horror of any spiritual miscegenation between the human and the natural.
    • 1981, Dale Maurice Riepe, Asian Philosophy Today, page 22:
      ... if a miscegenation of Latin and Sanskrit may be permitted.
    • 2001, Ken Hirschkop, David Shepherd, Bakhtin and Cultural Theory, page 180:
      ...'true English' before it was bastardised in its miscegenation with the Norman French.

Usage notes[edit]

Often considered offensive, pejorative, or old-fashioned, and therefore alternative terms are more common in contemporary use, such as interracial, interethnic or cross-cultural for relationships, and mixed-race, multiracial, or mixed for persons.

In scholarly use, miscegenation is particularly used for historical discussions, and in current use has been repurposed by academics to analyze the emotions, reactions, and anxieties held by people about interracial couplings.


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See also[edit]


  1. ^ “The Miscegenation Hoax”, in Museum of Hoaxes[1], accessed 2008-04-02